Yesterday the Santa Barbara County Sheriff ’s Office officially announced their new Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, hosting a meet-and- greet during which the newly hired officer answered questions from community members and provided further insight into her future plans.
The UCLA graduate — who will replace current officer Mark Williams — holds an extensive background in journalism, having worked as a reporter for KESQ in Palm Springs, an anchor for KEZI News in Oregon and a reporter for both KEYT News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. In her new position as PIO, Hoover will be responsible for communicating with the public and various media outlets and providing necessary information and updates from the Sherriff ’s Office. At the event, Sheriff-Coroner
Bill Brown introduced Hoover as an enthusiastic and energetic addition to the office. Hoover has stated that she plans to use her expertise to help improve community relations by utilizing social media and encouraging internal communication within the department.
“I’ve always had tremendous respect for law enforcement [so] it’s a dream come true to be able to use my journalism skills and be a part of it,” Hoover said. “My number-one job is to relay information, investigations and incidents that are happening to the public.”
Hoover said she also hopes to make the Sheriff ’s Office feel more accessible by making changes to the Sheriff Office’s website and Facebook page in an effort to ensure greater transparency between the department and the city. According to Undersheriff Jim Peterson,Hoover’s great understanding of effective social media use and experience with web design will prove useful in improving public relations.
“We were looking for someone with excellent public speaking skills and who had technical skills as well,” Peterson said.
Although she has not yet communicated any concrete plans for decreasing the rate of crime in Isla Vista, Hoover said she welcomes student opinions regarding possible changes to her future work with media relations.
“It’s my first day on the job but I plan to work with Sergeant Williams, and if there’s a list of concerns, I’d love to hear about it,” Hoover said. “I feel really fortunate and grateful to be able to serve the Santa Barbara area … I’m prepared to work hard.”
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of January 10, 2013′s print edition of the Nexus.